What is legal neglect?

Hiring an attorney to assist you with a legal matter requires putting your trust in that professional. He or she has a duty to you to help with your case and do his or her best to ensure that you get a favorable result. While your attorney can never guarantee an outcome, he or she has the responsibility to do his or her best for you. When your California attorney fails to do this, it is legal neglect.

According to the Legal Information Institute, legal neglect is when an attorney lacks reasonable care and does not act when he or she should. It essentially denies you competent and capable representation. In simple terms, it is legal malpractice.

Basic duty

You need first to understand the duty your attorney has. This person must act in an ethical and legally responsible way while adhering to the state bar rules and regulations. Your legal advocate also must have the knowledge to properly present your case and put in the work to help you prove your case or defend you.


To show legal malpractice, you need to show that your attorney did not meet the role’s essential duties. You must also show that you hired the attorney to do something specific for you. These elements are rather easy to show because you can easily prove that you a legal professional and then provide evidence to show that he or she did not do the job properly.

The other elements are trickier. You have to show that because the attorney breached a professional duty to you that you suffered harm. Without any real damage to you, you do not have a case. Furthermore, if you cannot show that the issue directly relates to the attorney not doing a good job, then you cannot prove your case.

Legal neglect is a serious issue that requires attention. If your attorney does not do an excellent job for you, then the chances are good that he or she is not doing a good job for any client. That is not the way the system should work.